The Bluegrass Classic Sheep Dog TrialMay 17-21, 2023
The Bluegrass Sheep Dog Trial is a non-profit event put on by the Kentucky Border Collie Association at Masterson Station Park in Lexington Kentucky every May. This prestigious and historic trial is free to spectators to help keep the history and tradition alive for generations to come.
History of the Bluegrass Classic
The history of the Kentucky Border Collie Association is inseparable from the history of the Bluegrass Classic trial. We know that the tradition of border collie trialing in central Kentucky goes back at least as far as 1960, as documented in a Texas newspaper article about a local handler named Weldon Harrell, who ran at the “American International Kentucky Blue Grass Championship Sheep Dog Trials, at Walnut Hall Farms, Donerail, Ky.” This newspaper was preserved by the heirs of the renowned handler Ray Parker, who won the trial five times between 1960 and 1969. The trials were among the most famous in the country, and most longtime residents of Lexington can tell you that they remember the legendary “dog trials at Walnut Hall,” continuing annually through 1983. After being held at Walnut Hall Farm for many years, the Bluegrass Classic has been a favorite event at the Kentucky Horse Park, and then in Masterson Station Park since 1996.
The KBCA’s Bluegrass Classic has flourished since 1994, drawing in new handlers and finding its permanent home on the rolling hills of Masterson Station Park’s Ruffian Field. Today, the Bluegrass Classic trial is recognized as the trial with the most entries in the nation, as the top stock dog event east of the Rocky Mountains, as the only Eastern trial that offers the tough challenge of Western range sheep, and as the trial that sets the standard for efficiency, hospitality, and sportsmanship. The KBCA is proud to continue the tradition of sheepdog trials in the Bluegrass.
This event involves fabulous opportunities for photography involving dogs, sheep, people, and horses, all in the picturesque setting of Masterson Station Park. As a non-profit event, we offer free admission to all, and we appreciate all forms of publicity that will make the community aware of the opportunity to watch these wonderful dogs at work.
Families and spectators are invited to bring their own dogs. Bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets, and enjoy the outdoors! The event runs continuously from dawn until dusk and there are spectator raffles, silent auctions, lunchtime concessions, numerous vendors and cold drinks available.
The Bluegrass Classic Sheepdog Trial is free to come and watch. On Saturday and Sunday there will be an announcer to provide commentary on what you are seeing on the field. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the shade under large tents. Food and shopping are avaialble on the grounds. Make a day of it for the whole family!
Sheepdogs are used by those responsible for flocks of sheep because they offer the safest and most efficient means of carefully moving sheep from one location to another. The sheep are not afraid of a well trained sheepdog.
Sheepdog trialling is all about demonstrating that handler and dog can achieve this tricky task. Points are gained by moving the sheep under control, in straight lines and with minimum excitement. The skill is in the handler and dog working together as a team.
The sheep used for the Bluegrass Classic Sheepdog Trial are western range sheep that have been brought in specifically for this trial. Because of this it provides a unique challenge for dog and handler, testing the skills of even the most experienced.
These range ewes make the Bluegrass Classic a challenging, but fair test of skill while being exciting and educational for spectators to watch.
What Drives Us
To continue the history and prestige of the Bluegrass Classic Sheepdog trial in Kentucky. To grow the sport through education, friendship and commraderie all while keeping the well-being of the dogs and livestock a priority.
It takes a large number of people to put on the Bluegrass Classic, from set up to helping the trial run smoothly each day. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, click below to fill out a form or contact us directly.
Handler Entry Guidelines
The Handlers Entry Guidelines are now available. Visit the Handlers page or download the PDF.
Handlers entered in the 2023 Bluegrass Classic will be held accountable for knowledge of the “2023 Entry Guidelines and Trial Information”. Failure to read such is not defensible for failure to comply.
Entry Open Date: March 7, 2023
2 Open trials over 4 days; 130 dogs per trial; USBCHA Sanctioned
4 Nursery trials over 4 days; USBCHA Sanctioned
2 Open Ranch trials over 2 days
2 Pro Novice trials over 2 days
2 Novice/Novice trials over 2 days